Over the past week, sparked by a report in Metro.co.uk, social media has been agog with rumours and chatter about the wellbeing of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria.
According to the Vanguard, the president travelled to the United Kingdom for a break, as well as a “routine” medical checkup.
However, almost immediately his plane left Nigeria, social media lit up with rumours of his death. The rumours intensified as fake news stories emerged reporting the president as dead. These stories where picked up by citizens and soon there was nationwide concern about the future of Africa’s most populous country.
Below are some of the fake news stories that intensified the rumours:
Finally! Thursday, 26 January 2017 LATEST BREAKING NEWS: Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari Is Dead Confirmed… https://t.co/vTRKzhTOSx
— #Ameborworld (@AmeborWorld_com) January 29, 2017
LATEST BREAKING NEWS: Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari Is Dead Confirmed By CNN-ALIVE
Nigerian President… https://t.co/7BxIAysNho
— Mbamara C Henry (@MbamaraC) January 27, 2017
As the rumours intensified the Nigerian public had their say on twitter:
— Nathan Awuzie (@Nathanseeker) January 21, 2017
Who wants the Nigerian President dead? I just received a whatsapp message that says the president is on life support….How true is this?
— Akinioluwa (@kinzodizo) January 26, 2017
The Nigerian government denied the rumours by sharing photos of the president.
— NewsAgencyofNigeria (@nanonlineng) January 27, 2017
The rumours have started to die down over the past few days but until President Muhammadu Buhari is seen out in public again, there will continue to be an iota of doubt in the back of the minds of the Nigerian public.